'Speak Out Cookout' looks for ways to combat violence in Binghamton

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Members of the local African-American community are coming together to discuss ways to combat violence among youth.

Tuesday night, for the third Tuesday in a row, the owners of 3J's Cuisine at 124 Broad Avenue in Binghamton have hosted a Speak Out Cookout to discuss ways to discourage young people from getting involved in criminal activity.

Organizers say it's in response to recent homicides of young adults in Binghamton.

Andre Blackwell and other organizers say they want to encourage more outlets for young people such as community centers, sports tournaments and other activities.

"We're not asking for nothing, we're not looking for nothing, the hand-outs or anything. We just want the area where we know that our child can go to the store and they'll come home. That's the bottom line," said Blackwell.

Among those in attendance were former Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan and Binghamton School Board member Korin Kirk.

124 Broad Avenue is currently under lockdown threat from current Mayor Rich David for allegedly operating an illegal after-hours club called "The Balcony" on the premises.

The owners of 3J say the upstairs is used as a banquet hall for private parties and not an after-hours club.

Tuesday night, the Binghamton Fire Marshal arrived to inspect the building.

The Speak Out Cookout takes place each Tuesday at 7 p.m. and includes free food.

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